Tuesday, December 14, 2010

ADS Design School: Clarification - I do not work with them any longer

ADS, Design School, Scam, Scum, Carpetbaggers, Loosers, Vietnam, Program Director, RubbishThis last week a number of people approached me and said, "You're famous! We saw your picture in the newspaper!" And I can tell you exactly how that happened. A few months ago a start-up design school approached me and wanted to use my picture and CV to promote their business. I was in advertising and editorial content for them. The position was titled "Program Director" but I looked at their info and saw that they had already written an entire curriculum with course descriptions, prices and promises they would get students into the US in a 4-year university program. In all reality, they had nothing but a designy-looking empty office. But I liked that better than any ugly school I had seen thus far, and the idea of building something - but I also realized that I would have nothing to do with their "program direction" at all.

Their direction was simply to enter a market that Raffles already owned and charge the same price, with none of the props or experience or big office building. And so my job, as I evaluated it, was to provide the "street cred" to the school. And in that sense only, I thought I could help. At least I'm a real body with real experience.

And so I made a contract with them to use my image and CV to promote the school. We also made an agreement for me to consult on their business and help them develop an American university preparatory courses in Vietnam. But the consulting part of the idea never happened. They only wanted my face to get attention. And so they did.

ADS Design School, as I understand, has now aligned with a school in the US that could only be described as a ravenously expensive trade school that will bypass any real university qualification standards to get Asian kids into an American school - if you've got the cash. At $26,000 for two semesters, you might better consider Harvard - that is if you can speak English and pass the entrance exam.

I initially liked the ADS school, because I thought they truly loved design and communications - but we never came to a good working agreement on how to teach that. They seemed to be thinking $$$ and I seemed to be thinking about, oh dear, good ideas and world class design.

And so, I simply don't work with them anymore.


  1. Dear David,
    I wonder if I want to study Interior or Fashion Design in Saigon, where do you recommend?

  2. Hi Chi;
    I think Raffles is really the only option. Obviously, I cannot recommend ADS.


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